May 4, 2020 Regular Meeting

The Lakota City Council held its regular meeting May 4th, 2020, at the City Hall. Mayor Russo called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. All Council Members were present via phone conference. City Superintendent Matt Herda and city employee Steve Richardson were in attendance via phone conference. Audience members were David Matejcek, Engineer Brad Muscha and Jason Sorlien via phone conference.

Member Vasichek made a motion to approve the minutes of the April 6th, 2020 regular meeting, and April 6th, 2020 Tax Equalization meeting seconded by Member Rainsberry. All voting in favor. Motion carried.

Mayor Russo recognized David Matejcek.

Mr. Matejcek stated he was interested in extending his lease agreement for the commercial building he currently rents from the city.  Mr. Matejcek stated his business has been going well and he could use additional space if the city would allow it. 

Member D. Mattern questioned Mr. Matejcek has plans to build or find a new location down the road.  Mr. Matejcek stated he is not interested in building a new building at this time and could see being in the current location for another 7-8 years if the city would allow it.  Member D. Mattern stated the initial purpose of leasing the building to Mr. Matejcek was to be a short-term arrangement and to get other startup businesses in there next.  Member D. Mattern stated he feels the city should re-advertise the space for other opportunities.

Mayor Russo read aloud the current contract the city holds with Mr. Matejcek, that read as the contract was not intended to be used longer than 2 years and after the first year to negotiate a monthly lease amount to the renter.

Member Vasichek asked Mr. Matejcek if he had an idea for a monthly rent amount.  Mr. Matejcek stated he would offer $350/month and continue to provide insurance and pest control. 

Member Vasichek made a motion to accept a 1-year lease agreement between David Matejcek and the city of Lakota for two-thirds of the building at 212 2nd St SE, seconded by Member Solberg.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor, except Member D. Mattern who opposed.  Motion carried.

Mayor Russo called upon Member D. Mattern for any concern with the approved lease agreement.  Member D. Mattern stated he does not believe the rent is enough for the size of the building.  Member Vasichek stated the intent of an incubator is help start-up and the agreement will most likely not meet full market price by doing so.

Member Solberg proposed an option for Mr. Matejcek to purchase the building.  Mr. Matejcek stated he would possibly be interested in the option. Mayor Russo suggested the conversation to be completed at a later date.

Mr. Matejcek left the meeting at 6:20pm.

Mayor Russo recognized Brad Muscha.

Engineer Muscha stated he provided the council with his proposed agenda for the street project items.

Member Hess questioned when the warranty period for the project started.  Engineer Muscha stated it started on August 30th, 2019 when substantial completion was met.  Engineer Muscha clarified that period of time did not pertain to the corrective work that needs to still be complete.

Member Hess stated there are still issues that need to be resolved such as a curb on A Ave and a valley gutter on C Ave.

Engineer Muscha stated Knife River intends to be in Lakota on May 11, 2020 (weather depending) to complete the punch list items along with Brad Hooey’s driveway.  Engineer Muscha stated Knife River has not provided a response on the defective work items provided to them.

Supt. Herda questioned if Moore Engineering will be in Lakota to review items, he is concerned about with the streets that should be classified as defective.  Engineer Muscha stated he will meet with Supt. Herda when he is in Lakota next.  Mayor Russo instructed Supt. Herda to come up with an official list for Engineer Muscha prior to the meeting.

Engineer Muscha stated he plans to have someone review the condition of the corrected defective work in late July.

Engineer Muscha left the meeting at 6:35pm.



Mayor Russo stated Auditor Vasichek and himself meet with Terry Wolf of MRES to review the WAPA improvement request.  Mayor Russo stated Mr. Wolf thought the price of the proposal was very fair for the work to be done.  Auditor Vasichek stated with the electrical rate study currently being conducted, the improvements have been included as a cost of calculations for the rate and with the preliminary review, they are not proposing a rate increase at this time.

Auditor Vasichek stated she is still waiting to get a revised estimate for the wall padding at the community center.

Supt. Herda stated he estimated $2,600 for the concrete improvements needed at the community center and the city crew would be able to handle the work.

Member Hess made a motion to approve the expense of $2,600 for concrete improvements at the community center with city labor, seconded by Member R. Mattern.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor.  Motion carried.

Supt. Herda stated he does not have a timeline update for the gutter and drain tile installations at the community center.

Supt. Herda stated he was unable to get additional estimates for street striping of Main Street and will follow up to get more.

Member Solberg stated he reviewed the one estimate for the repair of the roof at city hall from Tecta America Dakotas of $50,620 and felt it was rather high.  Supt. Herda stated the estimate did include building the wall inside the walls and replace the steel cap on edging.  Supt. Herda stated he has been unsuccessful with obtaining additional bids but will continue to pursue.

Member D. Mattern stated he would not be in favor of spending $50,000 on the city hall for roof improvements and would rather move the city hall to the city shop.

Member Hess stated he agreed the estimate does seem high and would like additional estimates.

Auditor Vasichek stated there is a historical value of the current city hall that should be taken into consideration by the council.  Auditor Vasichek stated if the city were not to invest money into the building to maintain it, it would most likely become another dilapidated building in the business section of town, much like the building across the street.



Member Rainsberry stated he has spoken to Mark Huso of the Lakota School board to set up a time to discuss the community center lease agreement but has been unsuccessful with meeting.  Member Rainsberry stated Mr. Huso has concerns with the school’s loss of games to be held in the Lakota.  Member Vasichek stated he will get together with Member Rainsberry, Mr. Huso and Mr. Jason Sorlien soon.  Auditor Vasichek stated Mr. Sorlien did reach out to her to get the 2018-2019 financials for the community center for the meeting.

Member Solberg stated he is aware that the wages have been frozen across the board for the school because of the budget uncertainly of the year.

Mr. Sorlien left the meeting at 7:18pm

Auditor Vasichek stated USDA would like the city to start pursuing the ADA improvements to city hall utilizing the grant funding.  Auditor Vasichek stated she will need to get a contractor to provide a drawing or simple plan for the renovation of the bathroom facility and the counter in the office.  Auditor Vasichek stated those plans would then be provided to any contractor who would like to bid on the project.  Member R. Mattern suggested Steve Johanson to draw up the plans.  Auditor Vasichek stated she will reach out to Mr. Johanson about it. 

Member D. Mattern questioned the status of the back door and parking area.  Auditor Vasichek stated she has not heard from AE2S on a start date for that project.

Member Vasichek stated he had a recent conversation with Ross Sundeen on his concerns with the golf course lease agreement with the Bill Beatty Estate.  Member Vasichek stated Mr. Sundeen would like to change the current lease agreement with the city for the land that has the cart sheds on it to 5 years.  Member Vasichek stated he will meet with Mr. Sundeen when he is in Lakota, ND next time.

Member Vasichek did say that Mr. Sundeen had concerns of a leafy spurge issue that should be easily remedied.


Supt Herda’s report and is attached hereto.

Member D. Mattern questioned when North-Holt Electric will be back in town.  Supt. Herda stated he was unsure but will contact them again.

Member Solberg stated he has concerns of the condition of the residence at 306 A Ave West with items all over the yard and that people are living in the shed in the yard.  Auditor Vasichek stated she could give the owner a call about the condition of the yard and to remind them all livable structures are required to have a water and sewer hookup to comply with the city ordinance and health concerns.  Auditor Vasichek stated she would also send a letter to the owner.


No additional report provided.


No additional report provided.



Member R. Mattern stated he has had numerous phone calls about the new stop sign on the west side of town.  Mayor Russo stated the council discussed this at a previous meeting and it was stated the reason for the stop sign was due to complaints of the high speed of vehicles running thru the neighborhood and the amount of children in the area.

Member Rainsberry asked if the park would be closed all summer due to COVID-19.  Auditor Vasichek stated she has not heard of an end date for the closure but stated the reason for the closure was due to not being able to thoroughly clean the equipment and shelter after each use.

Member Vasichek stated he had a call from a parent of the graduating class in Lakota about the option of having a graduation ceremony at the community center.  Mayor Russo stated the city will listen to the guidelines that will soon be provided by the Governor and then see what the School District would like to do.

Member Vasichek stated he also had a resident concerned with the water rising on the west end of town and to be able to clean out the drain.  Supt. Herda stated he will review the area.

Member D. Mattern stated Supt. Herda’s 6-month probation period is over and was wondering about providing him with a pay increase.

Member Hess questioned what the original motion was back in November.  Auditor Vasichek read aloud the motion made on November 4th, 2019, “ Member Vasichek made a motion to appoint Matt Herda as the interim superintendent with a 6 month probation period at the wage of $25.76/hr. and with the requirement he will need to obtain his water certification, seconded by Member D. Mattern.  On a roll call vote, all members voting in favor, except for Members Solberg and Hess who abstained.  Motion carried.”

Member Rainsberry questioned if Supt. Herda had completed his water certification.  Supt. Herda stated the testing was canceled so he was unable to complete it.  Member Hess questioned if there will be an online option for testing.  Supt. Herda stated he was unaware of that being an option.

Mayor Russo stated that the city superintendent position is an appointed position by the mayor, and he is currently not ready to appoint Mr. Herda as the city superintendent.  No further action was taken.

Member Hess stated he would like to see a tree berm program in town as he has been seeing more and more trees being cut down.  Auditor Vasichek stated she can put information out in the newspaper and newsletter on information or ideal trees to plant on the berms.  Auditor Vasichek also suggested a sign-up program where the city provides an established tree on a berm if the resident maintains it.



None given.


Mayor Russo stated he has been on numerous conference calls about COVID-19 and continued Governor speeches.



Auditor Vasichek’ s written report was provided and attached with minutes.

Auditor Vasichek stated the flag poles at the library and the park will need to be replaced and she received an estimate of $270 per pole to do so.  The Auditor was requested to contact the Lakota Legion to see if they will be willing to do a cost share of the pole.  Auditor Vasichek stated it has been suggested by Jim Burtness to move the current place of the flagpole in the park to the southeast corner and make it a welcoming entrance to the park.

Auditor Vasichek stated she has remaining trees form the Arbor Day giveaway if anyone is interested in picking any up.


Council reviewed the financial and utility reports.



Attorney Manbeck was not in attendance.


After review of the bills and vouchers, a motion was made by Member D. Mattern to pay all the bills presented for payment and those bills paid prior to the meeting. Member Hess seconded the motion. Motion carried on roll call vote of 6-0.

Advanced Business Methods                             $          289.00

At&t                                                                $            68.22

BCBS                                                               $       3,158.46

Border States                                                    $          158.64

Cardmember                                                    $            86.80

CHS – Lakota                                                   $          250.00

CMS                                                                $          138.74

Dakota Business Solutions                                $            48.99

Dakota Implement                                            $           263.93

Dept. of Justice                                                $           447.60

Dept. of Environmental                                     $             68.84

East Dakota Steam Clean                                  $            850.59

EFTPS                                                              $        1,774.57

EFTPS                                                              $        1,853.45

EFTPS                                                              $        1,834.11

Environmental Equipment                                 $           826.87

Farmers Union Oil                                            $        1,103.67

GF Utility Billing                                              $             41.00

GovOffice                                                        $           570.00

H.E. Everson                                                    $           177.54

Hawkins                                                          $           644.35

Interstate Billing                                               $           953.82

Lakota American                                              $           861.27

Lakota Auto Truck & Tire                                 $           178.95

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $           300.00

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $           513.73

Lakota Municipal Utilities                                $        7,536.53

Lakota Sanitation Service                                 $        7,935.85

Manbeck Law                                                  $           240.00

Menards                                                           $        1,147.80

MRES                                                              $      53,167.26

Moore Engineering                                           $        1,235.00

MMUA                                                            $           600.00

Nationwide                                                      $           507.50

NDPERS                                                          $         2,256.03

NC Soil Conservation                                       $            100.00

Nelson County Sheriff                                      $         2,318.40

Nelson Electric                                                 $            941.00

Neonlink                                                          $              51.80

NILE                                                                $          1,191.78

Nodak Electric                                                 $             805.97

ND One Call                                                    $                3.60

Ohnstad Electric                                               $            343.00

Polar                                                                $            703.66

Quadient Leasing                                             $            203.07

Rysavy Plumbing                                             $         2,947.44

TEAM Laboratory                                            $         8,901.50

Transcript Publishing                                        $            350.00

US Bank                                                          $            500.00

Vericheck                                                        $              14.15

Verizon                                                            $           320.41

City Salaries                                                     $      10,805.59

City Salaries                                                     $      11,167.75

            TOTAL                                                            $    133,758.23

Next regular meeting is scheduled for June 1st, 2020 at 6pm.  Auditor Vasichek reminded the council of the tax abatement hearing for Antonia Brossart on June 1st at 5:45pm.

Member Hess made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Member Vasichek.

Meeting adjourned at 8:08 p.m.

            APPROVED BY:                                             SUBMITTED BY:



Jeff Russo, Mayor                                            Amie Vasichek, Auditor